Savage Rhythm

By: Chloe Cox


Adra stared at her. “How could you have done that in all of five minutes?”

“I yelled at him?” Molly said, running an anxious hand through her hair. “Which, whatever, but there’s also just this…chemistry. I don’t know, I can’t explain it. He basically announced that we’re going to have sex.”

She could tell Adra was trying not to smile. To Adra’s credit, she did a pretty good job.

“And what did you say?”

“I said that we were not, in fact, going to have sex. I said that, instead, he was going to tell me all his deepest, darkest secrets, and then I was going to write a book about it.”

“So, an impasse.”

“Adra, I’m just afraid that he’s not going to take me seriously. I mean, I can’t sleep with him, not just because I want to be professional, but…” She trailed off. Molly had decided that the only way to make sure her past didn’t become her future was to refuse to relive it constantly. There was no reason to go into the whole thing.

“I just can’t,” she went on. “And now it’s there. Between us. And you knew I was completely inexperienced when you hired me, and believe me, I am feeling that right now.”

“Overwhelmed.”

“Totally.”

“You think you can’t get a good interview out of him with all this sexual whatever floating in the air? Which, by the way, five minutes and there’s already enough sexual tension to make you crazy? That’s got to be a record.”

“Tell me about it.”

“So sleep with him.”

Molly stopped short. “What?”

Laughing, Adra detoured over to a bench just at the edge of the light coming from the path they’d been following, the sort of thing you wouldn’t be able to see if you didn’t know it was there. Molly could hear the party now, a pulsing rhythm coming from inside the building, like a heartbeat. They were alone outside, except for a sense of vastness. Maybe it was the dark, maybe it was the privacy, but it felt…safe.

“I’m saying, Mol, that if you think the tension is going to mess up your professional performance, get it out of the way.”

Molly was suddenly glad for the poor visibility. She could feel Adra studying her. And even though they’d only known each other for a short time, they had an instant rapport, the kind where Molly wouldn’t be able to hide how disturbed she was. Not at the idea of sex with Declan—God, no, that had been practically all she’d thought about since she’d met him in the flesh—but the fact that Adra’s argument made sense, in a way.

Which meant that it wasn’t solely her professional concerns that made her so anxious.

If she were being truly honest with herself, she’d have to admit she was a little intimidated by the idea of a sexual relationship with anyone, let alone Declan Donovan. Or not even a relationship; just sex. Granted, the last guy she’d had sex with was Robbie. And that had ended about as badly as a sexual relationship could.

But it had been four years. Four years.

“I think there’s something wrong with me,” Molly said quietly.

“Everyone has something wrong with them,” Adra said. “You spend most of your adult life fixing stuff. Sometimes you get to find people to fix it with.”

Molly looked at her sideways. “Was that…innuendo?”

“Maybe.” Adra smiled. “Look, honest truth? Declan is not one of those guys who loses respect for the women he sleeps with. Those groupies he’s famous for banging aren’t, like, Nobel laureates, but he respects them as people…”

“Ugh.”

“He’s just not one of those guys. We wouldn’t have anything to do with him if he was. And if you feel uncomfortable and genuinely don’t want any of that, he’ll know, and he’ll back off. And if you tell him to back off, he’ll back off. He’s a good guy and is actually pretty paranoid about consent because of the whole fame thing. Only… Look, did I ever tell you about the cookie competition?”

For a moment Molly thought she must have misheard, but nope: cookies. She laughed. “The what?”

“Yeah. So Declan is like, super competitive and driven. If you took frigging Genghis Khan and then made him a rock god, you’d get Declan. Weirdest combination. So I decided to have some fun with him, right? I challenged him to a bake off.”